Unauthorised building work

Fairfield City Council relies on the community to make complaints about unauthorised work.

Providing Council with evidence to help enforce action is appreciated. 

Council officers identify unauthorised work through site inspections and community complaints. It is a criminal offence to breach environmental laws. If a matter goes to court, fines of up to $1.1 million and jail sentences may apply.

Unauthorised building and demolition works, excluding exempt development, includes any work conducted without prior approval from a Consent Authority.

Enforcement action, if necessary, may include:

  • Notices and Orders requiring the offender to do, or refrain from doing something
  • Terms of Settlement (agreements regarding what is to happen in order to avoid or settle proceedings)
  • Fines (Penalty Notices)
  • Prosecution for criminal offences
  • Injunctions to restrain or remedy serious breaches (Court Orders).

Council officers exercise discretion when deciding how to deal with unauthorised work, taking into account the evidence, cost to the community of any action, circumstances of the individual case, public policy and legal precedent.

In assessing unauthorised work, if the proper application had been made and approval would have been granted, then the illegal work may be permitted to stay. However, if the work is considered to have been completed, Council is unable to issue a retrospective approval.

Demolition of unauthorised work is the only course of action in many cases.